Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2784 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
there saying, "You will look at these pictures even if they upset you". If women do not want to look at it, they do not have to, but they do have to be provided with the information.
Mr Berry and others have commented that somehow the information that is being provided is undermining the information put together by the expert committee. It is my understanding that all of the information put forward by the expert committee will be part of the package. There will be some extra information. It is my understanding that the information that is being added, and I have looked at it, is factually correct. There is nothing factually wrong about the information. Those pictures, as everybody calls them, and others very similar, were in my biology books when I was at university, so I assume others have seen them regularly as well. Mr Speaker, to assume that women cannot cope with a full range of factual information is very, very paternalistic. From my perspective, it is simply not true.
Mr Speaker, I would like to finish by saying that I find the views of Mr Moore in this area very contradictory. Mr Moore has been absolutely adamant about full disclosure in all sorts of areas, such as recently in the genetically modified food area. He says it has to be on the label; we have to disclose everything. Ms Tucker, on the eggs issue, says that we have to know where eggs come from. In both those areas, even if the actual product is virtually the same, both Mr Moore and Ms Tucker have argued quite specifically that people should know and that there should be full disclosure. I agree. That is the reason why I have supported and do personally support both of those things. Why then in this case would Mr Moore and Ms Tucker not go down that path? I respect their views on it. I just, as I said, do not understand. From my perspective, full information is important.
I would like to finish with one comment about Mr Berry's comments about doctors. He went through all the specialists. In my experience doctors are the last people to ever support information going to patients. In the whole time that I have been involved in pharmacy and practising pharmacy, when we have gone down the path of patient information leaflets, and all sorts of what I think are huge steps forward in what people are provided with their medication, the people who have opposed them have been exactly those people. Why? Mr Berry actually hit the nail on the head. It is because they believe they should control the information that goes to a patient. They believe they know what a patient should have and what information they should have; what they can cope with.
I have to say I disagree. I have disagreed on this issue for my whole professional career. I believe that the patient, whether in respect of taking a medication or having a medical procedure, or a woman who is considering whether to have a termination, is the person who should determine what information they take on board and how they balance competing views, not doctors.
It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77.